We explore the people and places of the South Coast.
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From Little Compton to Onset & Buzzards Bay, we’re all about the South Coast. Because we’re passionate about this area. We delve into fascinating people, homes, food & restaurants, history, art, sailing & recreation and hidden places. We then reflect it back in the pages of our print issues filled with stories by local writers, photographers and designers that we hope capture a sense of this wonderful place.
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Posted by Marlissa Briggett on November 10th, 2019
We gathered four of the region’s most acclaimed confectioners and bakers for a little friendly competition: Whose signature dish makes for the best holiday dessert? Here are the entries for our Great South Coast Holiday Dessert Bake-Off…
by StacyCakes, Westport
LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE who stumbled into their life passion later in adulthood, STACY SILVA-BOUTWELL didn’t dream of being a baker when she was younger. She was a social worker for years until one day a friend asked her to make a Mario Brothers cake for her son.
Soon, she was taking all of her friends and family up on their requests for cakes, and eventually she left her career in social work because she became “so tired of everyone being sad and upset all the time. But cakes bring people joy.”
Her chocolate cake is rich and full of flavor. The frosting is light, but made with real espresso. The homemade white chocolate snowflakes, raspberries, sliced figs, and rosemary sprigs give a lively all-natural décor in the stripe of ganache over the top.
by Molly B’s Cakes of Distinction & Design, Berkley
EVEN THOUGH MARLENE SOUZA was quite successful making cakes, at 50, she decided to go back to school because “I wanted the qualifications behind me. I knew the cooking techniques, I just couldn’t name them.”
Two years later, she opened Molly B’s (it’s her childhood nickname). She takes great pride in her work: If a cake needs edible violets, she’ll grow and nurture them herself; if she has to pull an all-nighter to finish an elaborately designed wedding cake, she will.
A layer of ladyfingers is soaked with a coffee syrup, followed by a layer of tiramisu mousse topped with a layer of hand-shaved chocolate and coffee beans. The whole thing is repeated, topped again with the mousse and tied in a great big bow. Pirouline rolled cookies frame the dessert and Marlene adds edible decorations on top.
IN 2005, MEREDITH CIABURRI-ROUSSEAU opened Artisan Bake Shop to produce delicious pastries AND whimsical cakes.
She trained at the Culinary Institute in the Hudson Valley and came back to New England for her food management bachelor at Johnson and Wales. She interned in restaurants on Lake George and in Vermont. Her most interesting custom cake assignment? She had to do a full-scale model of a Model T engine for the 80th birthday of a Model T club member.
“What I love about this cranberry fool is that it requires no baking,” she says. “Even though it is a cool dessert, it can be enjoyed in any season.”
CHOCOLATE YULE LOG
by Confections, Fall River
JIM KENNEDY’S SUGAR CREATIONS are pieces of art. His flowers look like the real thing. Hostesses from as far away as New York City and Newport call him when they need a unique and spectacularly designed cake for a celebration.
He has been working in restaurants since he was 16. When he graduated from dishwasher to prepping the desserts, he knew he had found his calling. One Christmas, in between restaurant jobs, he peddled gingerbread houses door-to-door in Newport before spending years at Seekonk’s Café in the Barn, owned by the television chef Bernard Devodet.
Jim’s gluten-free yule log is pillowy soft and deliciously pairs chocolate with coffee. The edible holly leaves and white chocolate snowflakes with a dusting of edible gold are festive and fun. Customers come back year after year for their yule logs.
THE GREAT SOUTH COAST HOLIDAY DESSERT BAKE-OFF will take place at Bristol Community College’s spectacular Sbrega Building. The four bakers will each present and talk about their dish to a panel of judges including Bristol Professor of Baking and Pastry Arts Gloria Cabral, the co-owner of Little Moss Restaurant (and winner of our readers’ vote for Best Dessert) Lisa Lofberg, and our editor Scott Lajoie. This will be followed by a tasting for audience members. All profits from the event will go to Bristol’s Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. For more details and to buy your $25 ticket, go here.
To read this and other great stories in our Holiday issue, subscribe right here and have the next 4 issues delivered straight to your door.
Posted by Marlissa Briggett on October 30th, 2019
Have you put your heat on? There’s a whole swathe of New Englanders who insist on waiting until November before turning the heat on (see here). We’re not here to pass judgment on you if you’ve already put your heat on (mostly because our heat has been on and off for a few weeks). We are here to offer you an 8 Great Things List that is heavy on the hunkering-down-inside type of things to do. We round it out with a couple of outdoor activities, but that’s just to help you realize that, “Hey! It’s okay to turn the heat on now! No one’s going to judge you! It’s November on the South Coast!”
You could go to the annual Mountainfilm festival in Telluride or you can see the best of its short films in New Bedford this month. The films festival showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter. November 2, 3:30 to 9 pm. (2 sessions, $10 per session). See here to purchase tickets. 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford (Hosted by the SouthCoast Film Forum, the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Whaling Museum) See more about the festival here.
Maybe you prefer classical music in the afternoons rather than evenings? The Symphony has started to feature Sunday matinees as companions to its evening performances. This weekend’s performances include a Sunday afternoon performance featuring the Magic Circle Mime Co. performing Peter and the Wolf in and around the musicians as they play the score! Saturday evening will feature violinist Yevgeny Kutik who returns to the NBSO to perform both Prokofiev’s violin concertos – two virtuosic pieces that create opposite sound worlds, opening with a new rendition of Peter and the Wolf and topping it off with a suite from the stirring ballet Romeo and Juliet. Pick your day (or pick both)! The Z, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Buy tickets here.
A full day of mindfulness designed for people who embrace it as well as for those who aren’t sure what that all means. The keynote speaker is Tom Curran, the NBC Sports TV personality who is as comfortable riffing about the Patriot’s line-up as the efficacy of meditation in his own life. Morning and afternoon workshops in the soaring space of the Kilburn Mill, overlooking Clark’s Cove, will inspire up to 500 participants to live a happier life. November 6. For more info and to register, go here.
What a way to start the day! Combine a sociable coffee hour with a morning paddle when the Buzzards Bay Coalition hosts a free Morning Kayak and Coffee along Slocums River. It’s free but space is limited and they ask that you register here (also, BYOK — bring your own kayak). November 9 from 9 to 10:30. More here.
The Carousel Family Fun Center in Fairhaven is closing its indoor skating rink this month. Sad but true. Come out to enjoy it before it closes! November 9, 10 pm to 1 am , you’re encouraged to attend with your best retro costume ($20 at door or $15 in advance here, includes skate rentals). Or come on the very last day: November 11, 2 to 5. $10 admission ($3 skate rental). 4 David Drown Boulevard, Fairhaven.
In our Holiday issue (hitting newsstands in 2 weeks!), we asked 4 local baking phenoms to give us their best holiday dessert. They WOWED us in the pages of the magazine. Now you can taste their creations yourself and vote for your favorite! November 16 at 2 pm. Sbrega Building, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River. Tickets are $25 and all profits go to the Bristol Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. Buy your tickets here. Learn more about the event here.
The Z brightens up mid-November with a colorful and lively musical Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue, a fusion of film, music and dance. With over 1,000 costumes, this is a capital P Production for fans of “big, bright Broadway shows.” Check out the trailer here to get a sense of its scope. November 17, 7 pm. 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. Tickets range from $35 to $49, with student tickets just $10. Tickets here.
The Whaling Museum marries art and science in its new exhibit, Under a Stiff Breeze: The Art of Wind and Water, which brings “some of the more tempestuous works of marine painting” in its collection alongside Matthew Fontaine Maury’s Wind and Current Charts which were mapped in the 1850s and .changed the way humankind came to know the oceans of the world. While you’re there, you can check out De Wind Is Opp which highlights the museum’s impressive Golden Age Dutch and Flemish collection. 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford. More here about Under a Stiff Breeze. More about De Wind is Opp here.
There you go! Our top picks for November. Feel free to let us know if we missed anything by commenting below. (Our best ideas come from our readers!) And let us know if you have a passionate adherence to waiting until a certain date to turn on the heat…
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Our Holiday 2019 is hitting mailboxes very soon and you’ll find it on newsstands soon. Can’t wait? Get a copy delivered to your door with things you won’t see online, subscribe right here! Or just help us spread the word about South Coast Almanac by sharing this post with your friends on facebook, twitter or by email
Posted by Marlissa Briggett on September 30th, 2019
Turn the page and look what October has in store for us! Here is our monthly reminder of why we’re so lucky to live here –there’s such a lot going on! Here are our 8 Great Things for October.
The Onset Bay Association and the Wareham Village Association are joining forces to give us a Food Truck Festival with live music, local beer and wine and, of course, food trucks. Check out the Facebook page here for more information. Saturday, October 5, 11 to 4 (rain date is October 6) at the Wareham Village Train Depot with additional parking and shuttles from the Town Hall at 54 Marion Street, Wareham.Read More